Jeans as a Building Material

How outgrown, stained, or shredded jeans can be used to insulate your home.

details, housing, walls, recycled materials


Erin Monaghan


Talia Manning


Brittany Coyle

Do you find it hard to part with a great pair of denim jeans even if they are no longer suitable to wear for yard work? Go ahead—give those jeans a second life!

Denim can be recycled and made into an environmentally sustainable building insulation. After the hardware, zippers, and buttons are removed, the fabric is returned to its natural cotton state. The denim is frayed, pulled apart, and treated with non-toxic solutions to create a fireproofed and mold-resistant fluffy material that fits between stud wall framing members. Denim insulation does not contain formaldehyde, which is typically used as a binding agent in fiberglass insulation.

The final material contains almost 85% post-consumer recycled jeans; the other 15% includes the fireproofing, mold resistant treatment, and a small amount of synthetic polyolefin fibers that are heated to hold it all together. The maximum thermal properties of denim insulation provide a high R-value that helps reduce heating and cooling costs and makes a great alternative to fiberglass insulation. Denim insulation also provides a superior acoustic barrier, can be safely installed because there are no itch-causing fiberglass shards, and is non-toxic.

Denim insulation can be used in residential or commercial buildings and will achieve LEED credits in the post-consumer recycled materials category. WRT is looking for ways to use innovative recycled materials like denim insulation to create sustainable projects...but we promise not to ask for your favorite pair of jeans in the process.